Andrew from Memphis, TN
How much should be made of the Packers having their coaching staff and GM in place early in the process? How beneficial do you think it is it to have all of the new faces assimilated into the Packers’ clubhouse early, specifically when it comes to scouting players in the draft and targeting players in free agency?
It’s important, especially in the front office. It’s always good to get your coaching staff figured out sooner rather than later, but teams definitely want to have their general manager and his key associates in place when the college all-star games begin at the end of January.
James from Valley Village, CA
With Alonzo Highsmith now with the Browns, how does this affect our scouting for the draft?
*Brian Gutekunst already has positioned Jon-Eric Sullivan (director of college scouting) and John Wojciechowski (director of pro personnel) as his top guys. We’ll see what else Gutekunst plans to do going forward, but the Packers have their people in place for this upcoming draft. *
Robert from Wayne, PA
Would you list the Packers’ free agents and list them in order of playing time in 2017.
*The Packers have nine unrestricted free agents. Right guard Jahri Evans (966 total snaps), safety Morgan Burnett (753), cornerback Davon House (705), tight end Richard Rodgers (415), defensive lineman Quinton Dial (409), linebacker Ahmad Brooks (359), receiver Jeff Janis (299), long snapper Brett Goode (77) and cornerback Demetri Goodson (0). *
Tom from Iron River, WI
Who are the players on the practice squad at the end of the season that have the best chance at making the 2018 roster?
*There’s always one; a player who rises from obscurity to impress. I felt Reggie Gilbert was that guy in 2017. I look for him to build on that strong finish in training camp. Another guy to keep an eye on is former Oklahoma safety Ahmad Thomas who projects as hybrid linebacker in Green Bay’s defense. He has an intriguing skill set. Fifth-round pick DeAngelo Yancey also is set to return. *
Brett from Lakewood, CO
The talk of Calvin Johnson and the Hall of Fame got me thinking of how his stats compare to Sterling Sharpe. Calvin Johnson played two more years with a better QB in a more pass happy league and his home field was indoors. CJ's season averages are 81 receptions, 1,291 yards, and just over 9 TDs. Sterling Sharpe's averages per season are 85 receptions, 1,162 yards, and just over 11 TDs. This also shows how dominant Sterling Sharpe was.
Sharpe probably is the most dominant player from the 90s that nobody talks about. If Sharpe plays a few more seasons with Brett Favre, it would have been interesting to see what he might have accomplished in this league.
Bill from Macon, MO
"Honestly, this Super Bowl probably showed you don’t need one elite pass-rusher to make it to the big game. Neither the Eagles nor the Patriots had a pass-rusher with more than 10 sacks this season. Their defenses relied more on steady rotations and depth.” Sure Wes, if you love giving up a ton of yards passing every week.
Take a look at photos of Packers LB Kyler Fackrell from the 2017 season. Photos by Evan Siegle and Corey Wilson, packers.com
Thanks for the reminder of what I wrote. I’ll also point out the Eagles, who finished fourth in total defense, were ninth in opponent passer rating and tied for fourth in interceptions last season. Sometimes Tom Brady happens.**
Wayne from Green Bay, WI
You guys seem to always nonchalantly nominate Rodgers as the best player in the game and Brady as the GOAT. If you think Rodgers is a better player now, then why do Brady and the Pats consistently advance further and their offense is equally or more effective than ours?
It’s my belief Rodgers is the most gifted quarterback to ever play this game. He has it all – arm strength, remarkable accuracy, awareness/intelligence, work ethic and athleticism. Brady’s resume puts him in the conversation for the greatest to ever do it, but he’s not the best athlete to ever play the position (look at his 40 time). That’s the difference. To your point, I stand by my comments about how the AFC, and more specifically the AFC East, has helped the Pats’ cause over the last decade.
Peder from Rockford, MI
The Packers may have 12 draft picks, pick up 2-4 free agents, and re-sign some of their own players. This scenario would most likely result in some draft picks not making the roster (same as losing the pick). I think it's likely they will trade some of those picks to move up targeting undervalued prospects (Clay Matthews). Thoughts?
*I’d be very surprised if the three days of the draft pass and the Packers finish with 12 players after 12 picks. I think Brian Gutekunst will use those extra selections as leverage for possible trades. The Packers haven’t moved back into the first round since 2009. Maybe this is the year. *
Ryan from Noblesville, IN
What do you think about Eagles fans ripping up stadium seats after the Super Bowl for souvenirs? Pretty shady. I wonder how they got them out of the stadium without anyone noticing.
That’s why Lambeau Field has bleachers. Good luck getting one of those things out of the stadium without being noticed.
Brad from Solon Springs, WI
Biff, love the coaching changes, especially the new format regarding run and pass offense and defense. One guy focuses on the run, the other on pass. Do other teams have this setup or are we breaking new ground here?
This approach has been popular in the college ranks, but you’re starting to see it more and more in the NFL. The Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets have all created similar positions this offseason. **
Joe from Dundee, IL
Dan asked "What season-defining news could possibly happen while Mike is away this time?" One possibility is a trade being announced, though I realize it cannot be made official.
*The Jimmy Garoppolo deal isn’t a bad start. *
Chris from Racine, WI
You were right about Jimmy G re-signing. Wow, he hasn't even played a full season.
Thanks, but I’m not exactly Sybil: The Soothsayer (Ten points for Gryffindor if you can tell me which movie that character is from). The 49ers had a ton of cap room after their fire sale last year. When you find the man, you pay the man. Just like the Packers did with Rodgers back in 2008. In five starts, Jimmy Garoppolo gave San Francisco hope again. Hope is priceless to an NFL franchise.
Robert from New Lexington, OH
All that guaranteed money for a guy with seven career starts. For the price of a second-round pick, one of these teams got the better end of this deal. I'm interested in finding out which one was the fleecer and which was the fleeced.
I don’t know, but Kirk Cousins’ value is rising faster than Bitcoin in December. That’s what happens when starting quarterbacks can leverage expiring contracts and the open market during negotiations.
Dale from Kettering, OH
We 'finally' made an 'aggressive' free agent signing last year. How'd that work out, guys? It's still a crapshoot, and I'd rather wait and have a Fumagalli on Tuesday than pay you for another Bennett today.
If anything, this past year dispelled a common belief among many Packers fans that free agency is a sure thing. There are no sure things. There’s risk in every acquisition whether it’s the draft, free agency or a trade.
Brandon from Fairfield, CA
With Jimmy G getting paid big, and Kirk about to become an UFA, when do you think Rodgers gets his contract? It makes sense to extend him before FA starts so we can spread the money out more. But that means Cousins may set the bar even higher. Rodgers would still deserve it. Or do you think we wait a bit longer and try and let Rodgers reset the market after this upcoming season?
I can only go off what the Packers did the last time they extended Rodgers in April 2013. They used the final two years of his pre-existing deal to spread out the signing bonus, easing the overall cap hit. Green Bay is in the same spot now this offseason. I don’t know when the deal will happen, but there’s a huge benefit to staying in front of these things. One way or another, the Packers will do right by Rodgers.
Ambrose from Two Rivers, WI
Since 2005, when Rodgers was drafted, the Browns have had 18 first round picks. They still don't have an Aaron Rodgers. Why would you trade only 2 first round picks for the one player who can make any team an immediate contender?
James from Grover Beach, CA
Do you think Belichick just made his first major mistake in not having the courage that the Packers had to move on from a Hall of Fame quarterback, who we all loved, to the next franchise Hall of Fame quarterback?
*The only mistake I believe the Patriots made was not getting more in return for Garoppolo. I don’t fault them for sticking with Brady. It goes back to what I said in Wednesday’s column. The Packers played the “will he, won’t he” game with Favre for years. Brady’s situation is a completely different. He hasn’t even hinted at retirement. *
Bruce from Savage, MN
I agree. The Jenkins hit on Cooks was brutal. But it looked like he was trying to lead with his shoulder. When you lead with the shoulder, what are you supposed to do with your head? You can’t take it off.
*Moving targets who run in the 4.4s aren’t easy to hit even for the best tacklers in the game. That’s why I’m perplexed as to how to solve this problem. I’m open to suggestions. *
Derek from Houston, TX
Don't you think Charles Woodson would most certainly go in as a Raider?
Inductees don’t go in representing anyone other than themselves. It just depends which NFL teams claim them towards their Pro Football Hall of Fame counts.
Mark from West Bend, WI
Sorry Wes, forgot the last part of my other submission. This year's Alvin Kamara could very well be Sony Michel from Georgia.
*You know NFL teams will be turning over every stone to find the next Kamara. Right now, Michel looks like a second-day draft pick. He was super productive last year. I can’t imagine what he might have done at a school where he was the featured back for three or four years. *
Jeremy from Pullman, WA
If you were superstitious, which of the following was the greater cause of Patriots losing the Super Bowl? The fact that Brady won the MVP? Or that Alabama won the national championship this year since Bama and the Patriots have traded winning titles the last five years running?
First, I am superstitious, so I’ll say the latter. Sports fans wouldn’t be able to handle a year in which both the Crimson Tide and Patriots won it all.
Jim from Huntertown, IN
Hey Wes, now that the season is over which league wide game matchups in 2018 will you be anticipating the most? I’m no Colts fan, but I think I’m in the majority when I say Indianapolis versus New England just launched into my top five.
If Andrew Luck is playing next year, sign me up for that Colts-Pats game next year. I’ll let out a hearty laugh if the NFL schedule-makers put that in November, giving Luck a little extra time to get back on the field.
Max from Chicago, IL
So, if Baker Mayfield is on the board at No. 14, do you think Gutekunst will take him and groom him ala Ted Thompson with Rodgers?
I wouldn’t. If Mayfield is clearly the best player available, then I’d trade down and take the extra pick or two. The Packers have needs elsewhere. This is an opportunity to help Rodgers win now, so use it. **
Jack from Elk Grove, CA
Per the trade Rodgers thing, the Bucks tried that with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and yes the Bucks got a boatload and the drafted well and were relevant for years based on that trade, but how many more titles did the Lakers win and bupkis for the Bucks.
*Great example, though Kareem did kind of force the Bucks’ hooves there if I recall correctly. *
Mark from Fox Point, WI
Please see Edmonton Oilers in 1988 when they traded a "depreciating asset" in Wayne Gretzky. He went on to play 12 more seasons and notched 1,188 more points. Never trade the best.
Also a good point.
Nate from Minneapolis, MN
I'm beginning to think I'm invisible to you Wes. I mentioned the MVP Super Bowl curse last year, which Spoff was kind enough to respond, after Ryan and the Falcons lost.
*I’m sorry. *
Josh from Denver, CO
I'm an aspiring sports writer and was wondering if you had any advice.
Read and write as often as you can. That’s the only way you get better in this business. College teaches you AP Style and grammar, but you learn how to write by writing. And keep asking questions. If there’s a writer you idolize, reach out to them. We’re more interconnected than ever before through social media – use it to your advantage.
George from Clifton, NJ
Do you think the Yankees have the best QB in NY?
I guess I can’t argue that.
Jake from Salt Lake City, UT
What Madden year is your favorite? For me it’s the very first Madden I played in 1996: Madden 64 on Nintendo 64. I still fire it up to this day and play. Looking at those rosters and seeing who was playing in 1996 is a big trip down memory and nostalgia lane and gives me great flashbacks of playing with my buddies.
Easiest question I’ve ever answered in Inbox – Madden 04 with Michael Vick (95 speed, 97 acceleration) on the cover. I played that game so much Ma Hod had to hide it from me. She then gave it back to me when I started playing Grand Theft Auto.
Doug from Union Grove, WI
Wes becomes a grandpa and is staring retirement squarely in the eyes. Edisto Beach, some other warm climate, or, the great white north where you go out of your way to find a full-service gas station?
Zihuatanejo. It’s in Mexico. A little place on the Pacific Ocean. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life, a warm place with no memory.